In our exclusive video interview, Matt Damon explains what drew him to director Neill Blomkamp's sci-fi world.
Damon, who stars in the District 9 director's latest epic as Max, an ex-con on a desperate mission to get to the titular space station, described seeing a graphic novel Blomkamp made before production that detailed the Elysium world, and being immediately drawn to the level of detail and the sense that Blomkamp had the kind of vision that's defined the careers of other great sci-fi filmmakers.
"It was so unique, it was so cool, and as he talked about the world that he'd envisioned, that he'd invented, I instantly thought about Jim Cameron, because I got a chance to talk to him before he made Avatar, and the way that he talked about the world was as if it existed and he'd spent time there," Damon said. "It was totally real to him, down to every blade of grass. That's what it was like with Neill. And I think, I've come to think, that that's the only way for a great science fiction movie to be made, is for there to be a visionary director behind it who takes that kind of thought exercise all the way and kind of brings it back to his crew."
That sense that Blomkamp had a deep knowledge of and a detailed vision for the world of Elysium carried over into production, when Damon witnessed the director making quick decisions on set with a kind of absolute knowledge of what did and didn't belong in his world.
"It was like getting directions in New York City from a New Yorker," Damon said. "Everything had been thought of, and so that part was really fun. He's still very collaborative. We were all there to kind of augment in the little ways that we could with little details, but we could see that he had a complete grasp of what he wanted to make and of the world, and that was really cool to be a part of."
Watch the full interview above for more on how Blomkamp and company created Elysium, how Blomkamp placed emphasis on character rather than CGI effects, Damon's thoughts on District 9 and a few awesome clips of Elysium footage.
Elysium hits theaters Aug. 9